PDA

View Full Version : One Temple, A Priest and A Cell Phone....



c.smith
11 May 2014, 12:55 PM
Hari Om!

While out for an early morning drive, the car just somehow ended up at my favorite Mandir. It was just after opening and Panditji was just about to preform puja and aarti for the morning. Was elated to be there to start the day in this fashion and felt guided by Lord Hanuman and the Gods as if to receive special blessings. Know that I most certainly did. Jai Jai Hanuman!

So, what's the issue? Cell phone rang in the middle of the ceremony and he went to answer it. Twice this is. Talked for a bit and then returned to the puja. Makes me wonder...

1. Is this commonplace today? Here in the U.S.? Elsewhere?

2. Do priests really "feel" what they are doing or is it just mechanical? No fault either way (maybe?) because it is something that is done daily and several times at that in many mandirs.

I was the only one in attendance and although not a personal friend, I am known to Panditji because this is a temple that I frequent. I don't feel like it was a personal issue directed at me. Thus the queries above.

Please help.

Om

Mana
11 May 2014, 01:03 PM
Namaste c.smith,

I had the same experience during my first ever temple visit with puja, it was in the Jageshwar temple, in the Himalaya ... I was more than a little disturbed by this.

My guru had forewarned me and given an adequate mantra cleanse the heart.

Perhaps it is that they do they not realize the importance of the chandas? One must wonder.

Kind regards.

Eastern Mind
11 May 2014, 01:15 PM
Vannakkam c.smith: Here at the temple I frequent I noticed yesterday that the 'no cellphones, no cameras, no other electronic devices' got bigger and more visible. Clearly the problem with devotees hasn't vanished and is a case for the board's frustration.

I have never once seen either of our two priests interrupt a puja for the phone. They do occasionally tell a phoning devotee about what to bring for a home, etc. but that's only outside puja times. Heck, even the manager doesn't anser the phone when the puja is on because he's busy ringing the bells at the back.

Choose your temple wisely, I guess.

Aum namasivaya

Mana
11 May 2014, 01:29 PM
Dear EM,

I am glad to hear that EM you reassure me, the temple is its self an antenna for infra sound; and probably best without the microwaves.

Kind regards.

Believer
11 May 2014, 02:25 PM
Namaste,

Evidently the Panditji either does not take his job seriously, or feels bound to answer the calls (even in the middle of a puja) from the mandir managing committee members to keep his job. In either case it is unfortunate for devotees to have to go through with this experience.

Pranam.

Ram11
12 May 2014, 01:22 AM
Namaste,

Generally priests don't use mobile phones during Puja unless it an important call.

I used to feel bad before when similar things happened but nowadays I don't care.Our personal practice is more important to us.So I start chanting names of gods and try not to react about such things.

Eastern Mind
12 May 2014, 08:37 AM
Namaste,

Generally priests don't use mobile phones during Puja unless it an important call.



Vannakkam: And just how, exactly, does someone determine if it is an important call, before answering?

But going back to the OP for a minute, I had further thoughts. Some priests in this country (US and Canada) are notoriously underpaid. They're given a place to stay, a food allowance, and then paid the equivalent of a priest in India. So some of these guys, out of necessity, would have to earn dakshina on the side by doing home pujas, etc. In that case I feel for them, and have no problem whatsoever with them answering the phone at any time at all to arrange pujas outside the temple.

Each temple situation is different though. A well paid priest is a happy priest. They should earn the equivalent of any other clergy in any other religion here.

Aum Namasivaya

Ram11
12 May 2014, 12:43 PM
Namaste Ji,

I've attended a Vedic sacrifice conducted by a great Vedic Pandith.Although ,he would get many calls he never answered them during the ritual,which was for more than 10 hours daily.He answered the call only once,probably it was from his family members,so I thought it must have been a very important call.His disciples continued with the chanting and ritual process while he was speaking.

I agree with you EM ji.Priests should be honored appropriately for the Seva they are doing.It is a sad to hear that they have to search for clients.

Mana
13 May 2014, 01:43 AM
Namaste,

Ah there we go, money ... Human hunger and the desire to eat; this will often, it would seem, disrupt the higher loka.

Perhaps it is driving the proverbial chariot in this case?

Kind regards.

Eastern Mind
13 May 2014, 08:21 AM
Namaste,

Ah there we go, money ... Human hunger and the desire to eat; this will often, it would seem, disrupt the higher loka.

Perhaps it is driving the proverbial chariot in this case?

Kind regards.

Vannakkam: Of course we don't know for sure. The priest may well have had a family emergency, or he may have been told by the board that he should always answer the phone. We aren't privy to much information at all.

Aum Namasivaya

c.smith
13 May 2014, 11:19 AM
Hari Om!

Maybe just haven't been to the Mandir at the right times or often enough lately. Perhaps it is a policy to allow cell phone usage because a devotee was sitting right in front of Lord Somnath chatting right away as if there weren't a care in the world. If she can, why not Panditji? Yes, I will address Temple management without naming names, titles or instances to become aware of policy.

In my humble opinion, when it comes to devotees in the temple it should be common sense (again, my opinion) that cell phones are put aside. And I can see the point that priests are underpaid almost in any context and don't know the particulars here. I don't know that his call was or wasn't an emergency so let's just say even with all of the laughter, etc that it was in fact an emergency. Better on the safe side. But again, certainly a reminder to give dakshina on a more frequent basis.

I have a resolve which am hoping does not offend and that is to offer my own aarti when I visit. Don't feel that this is out of protocol as other members do it without reservation. Feel somewhat awkward having an aarti set for home and one for the temple. Is this how it is done? This is my intention but again not certain of how to continue.

Thanks again for the input and continued guidance.

Om

Ram11
13 May 2014, 12:41 PM
Namaste Ji,

I think even priests should avoid using mobiles while performing Puja.The sentiments of the devotees will not be hurt if priests act in a responsible manner.

I think you can carry the same set,we use the same articles for Puja at home and for temple Puja.

ShivaFan
13 May 2014, 06:26 PM
Namaste

I have never, ever, seen this at the main temple for Shiva and Murugan here at the bay area, meaning I have never seen a Pujari walk away or stop in the middle of a puja to respond to a cell phone, in fact no way have I ever seen them with a cell phone on them during such things or any other thing not related to proper attire or duty to the puja. It is a very strict temple, no pictures of the Murtis, no cell phones on, and so on by guests by guests either. This is a South Indian temple and very conservative.

I have often seen the pujaris at this temple distribute what others have brought to the murtis, just after, such as coming and giving me fruit and such offered to the Murtis.

Now there have been a couple of times where, AFTER all ceremony, puja, abhishekam, etc., the priest then came and gave me a calendar (Hindu calendar with beautiful Devata picture) which is calendars obviously advertising by a devotee guest for their business, store, etc., I have no problem with that as I always want to help support and be a patron of Hindus and their families and business. I enjoy receiving these when the priest gives them to the guests which were obviously given to the temple by business explicitly for this purpose.

Now at a local Durga Temple and Hindu Community Center, recently I was surprised when a pujari finished his altar duty, there were 5 guests for darshan including myself (I was alone, my wife was sick), we were in the main altar room, the pujari went into an adjunct after leaving the altar, then came up and literally invited me to tea. He called to someone in the kitchen in I believe Marathi, then said me smiling, "would you like some tea?"

It was sort of funny actually, I felt a bit embarassed as to why me and not anyone else who were Indians. I said, "Do you have green tea?". Really I did not know what to say right there in the temple room. He didn't, so I thanked him and said "oh, I am ok, thank you!". He smiled and went back into the adjunct.

Om Namah Sivaya

Aanandinii
14 May 2014, 03:13 AM
Namaskar,

At one of the temples I visited recently, three young girls were sitting together and one kept getting texts and a couple of phone calls. She answered all and only got up to leave for one. At the end, as she was circumambulating the dias, the pujari asked her how many times on her phone then indicated she would have to circle the dias more times.

Cell phones can be an annoyance and a hazard at times. I deeply wish those killboxes were not illegal, every movie theatre, car and Temple could have one. :) Ah, dreams...

~Pranam-s

bhargavsai
27 May 2014, 02:06 AM
I've seen a couple or more of priests who give more intense blessings if you throw in a currency note into their pocket. One thing is for sure, Pandits are not exactly spiritually evolved people anymore. Priests come to the temple, perform their duty with dispassion/non-attachment to God and leave by the end of the day. Its a 9 to 5 job for them these days. Sadly, they lack the passion to serve the God with love.

But, you cant blame them. Even, we come to office but do not perform our duties with intense devotion, rather we indulge in some other trivial activities and waste the time.

The funny thing is that I am writing this post from Office! I'm an Insincere worker :P

Eastern Mind
27 May 2014, 03:35 PM
I've seen a couple or more of priests who give more intense blessings if you throw in a currency note into their pocket. One thing is for sure, Pandits are not exactly spiritually evolved people anymore. Priests come to the temple, perform their duty with dispassion/non-attachment to God and leave by the end of the day. Its a 9 to 5 job for them these days. Sadly, they lack the passion to serve the God with love.



Vannakkam bhargavsi: This has not been my experience. Probably 90% of the priests I have met have been totally dedicated well versed committed souls, very deserving of our respect. They do a ton of work, with little credit, and have a skill very few lay people do, and that's the training to bring out the esoteric vibration of out Gods. Personally, when I give that little extra dakshina, I do so because I honestly feel that they deserve it. I stood on that side for a few years as a pandaram, and it gives you a different sense of the whole thing.

A happy priest is a happy temple.

Aum Namasivaya

Seeker
27 May 2014, 04:26 PM
Couple of years ago , I registered for a motorcycle riding class. The instructor was a typical biker - pony tail, leather jacket, tattoos with an imposing physique.After 2 days of riding class, we had to take a written safety exam. It was eerie quiet in the room. His cell phone rang and he took the call to some of our annoyance.

He couldn't leave the room since we were taking the test. He went to the farthest corner and talked in a hush-hush voice. About 15 minutes later the phone rang again.He took the call this time also. After the test was done, I handed my paper to him and was walking out with the last batch of test takers. He approached one of us and requested a ride to a hospital.

He said 'today morning after I reached here, I got a call that my son got into an accident. He is at the ER and I am not in a mental state to ride my bike.'. I then understood the reason behind his phone calls. Felt bad for judging him. Hope the priest did not face any similar issue.

Mana
28 May 2014, 01:21 AM
Namaste Seeker,

With all due respect I see no correlation between an exam supervisor and a priest.
Imagine if you went to see a musician crossed with a doctor, for a spiritual energy recharge for health reasons, and the doctor / poet rather than penetrating your soul with the chandas of divine utterance, was sending text messages and looking at his phone; There would be be soul connection at all; no vibration transmitted.

The whole exercise becomes a show with no real meaning; true this is kali yug.

I don't have a mobile phone, and simply feel that they are stepping up the vibration of kali yug to a whole new level.

Being a motorcyclist my self, it is worthy of note that many motorbike accidents are caused by cars who's driver is on the phone; I experience this danger regularly. In a curious Schrodingers' cat like conundrum, we could state the hypothesis that if the instructor had no phone the incident may not yet have happened, and that it was in fact (see Schrodingers' cat) his availability at that time that gave rise to the incident; this is some high level physics/Jyotish to grasp but very worthy of our consideration here, given the content of the mentra in the temples ...

I obviously sympathize with your post but feel that the subjects are far from similar; That the mobile phone, especially now with the inclusion of social networking, allow us to extend our egos, and its illusion of self, to a whole new level of grandeur.

Not that this is wrong, perhaps a temple is not the place for it.

My 2 gati anyhow,

Kind regards.